Until just recently, the Internet and things were separate entities. A customer could buy a car online, but the car itself wasn’t online. That separation between the physical and the cyber is beginning to break down – and it’s called the Internet of Things.
What is the Internet of Things?
The concept is pretty simple, but the implications are complex — and enormous. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the ability of physical objects to go online automatically and download information, software and other components that allow consumers to get more out of that object. For example, a smart thermostat will learn the patterns of a home and adjust the temperature based on the time of day and whether residents are at home.
The IoT is not part of everyday life yet, but it’s becoming more so every day. McKinsey’s report, “The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Behind the Hype,” says that by 2025, the Internet of Things’ economic impact may be as much as $11 trillion. Meanwhile, the connection between everyday devices and the Internet means that there’s a whole new channel opening up for reaching customers.
New Opportunities for Marketing Message Exchanges
Technologically speaking, the bidding on ad exchanges is a relatively new development. As the IoT evolves, though, the opportunities are going to expand significantly. If a refrigerator can send you a helpful video when you’re having trouble with the ice maker, it’s also going to be able to send you other types of messages as well. Marketers looking to target people who have purchased a particular type of refrigerator will find the opportunity to send messages via the IoT extremely desirable. As a result, MarTech platforms will need to be able to participate in these new types of exchanges as well as the soon-to-be-old-hat ad exchanges.
How Martech Can Prepare Businesses for the IoT
Martech providers are already building platforms that help businesses engage customers more. But up until now, that engagement took place only through specific electronic channels such as TV commercials, web ads and social network ads. All of these options come out of entertainment or communication venues.
But as the IoT develops, the opportunity to engage consumers through the objects they use every day develops along with it. Businesses will be able to send targeted messages by way of dishwashers, stoves and smoke detectors, along with many other items. And these messages will be much more targeted and of higher quality because they’ll be based on knowledge of the customer’s identity, habits and actual buying choices. With the ability to get this granular, social media will no longer be the best – or only – way to reach potential customers.
Ultimately, a seamless multi-screen experience will be crucial to compete in the IoT space. Martech platforms will need to be able to help a consumer through a journey that may lead from their refrigerator to their phone to their iPay account. That message-to-action integration is becoming tighter all the time in the ordinary Internet, but Martech providers must now find ways to close the gap between refrigerator and phone.